Slowly regaining consciousness in the warmth of my bed, my drowsing brain has a major epiphany:

  1. It is very, very dark in my house.
  2. I really have to piss.

I do not want to go to the bathroom.

Having spent most of my evening watching bizarre videos and reading spooky stories, I quickly passed out on my bed while there was still some rays of twilight shining comfortingly through my windows. I was more preoccupied with the fact I have a test tomorrow than any of the creepy shit I found online.

That was hours ago, however.

Now it is dark.

Now it is dark, and I have to pee, very badly.

I huddle deeper into my blankets, as if they could protect me from whatever could be lurking in the shadows, and close my eyes, desperately wishing that I could ignore my bladder. With a sigh, I turn on the light next to my bed. My room is immediately filled with warm yellow light, but as bright as it is, it couldn't penetrate more than a few feet into the dark of the hall. I can't see anything outside my room. Somewhere, deep in the gloom of my once-familiar hallway, is my bathroom.

I know better than to be afraid of the dark. I should walk fearlessly through the darkness of my house, and go to the bathroom like a proper adult. If I could just quiet my mind, if I could just stifle those thoughts of twisted limbs and grotesque smiles turning and writhing in that inky blackness...

The hallway outside my bedroom is alive, and waiting for me.

Despite my fears, I step over the threshold of my room, to the very farthest reaches of the light, and wait anxiously for my eyes to adjust. I can just barely see the shape of the hall, and the doors and paintings lining it.

I could, theoretically, run all the way to the end, like a scared child. But that's scary, too. I would have to run past that extra bedroom on the left, empty but for dust and darkness. Its doorway is yawning open, like a giant, black maw, and I can't bear the thought that something awful might be curled up tightly, deep inside, waiting with a patience unmatched by any predator. I can't imagine anything more frightening than that one lonely room.

I must walk quietly, so nothing finds me. I just have to reach the bathroom.

The sound of my footsteps is softened by the carpet. The house is still, and as silent as a tomb. That damned guest bedroom, so innocent in the daylight, now gapes at me as I walk past. I cannot bring myself to look into the impenetrable darkness of that room. Its door swings, almost imperceptibly in the night, as a faint chill breeze issues from within. I must have left a window open in there.

Surely, I must have.

I scramble the last few feet into the bathroom. I gratefully flick on the lights, and my eyes sting wonderfully in my bright, tile bathroom. Peeking at the mirror, I can see my own smile reflected reassuringly back at me. Quickly, I use the toilet and wash. Maybe I shouldn't drink so much Coke before bed.

Reluctantly, I switch off the lights and peer into the lightless hall, back to the guestroom, door still ajar. Supposing there really was something waiting inside, it had certainly heard me running those final steps to the bathroom. If it didn't know I was awake before, it certainly did now. I have no choice but to run past that dark, dark room, so it couldn't snag me with its long fingers as I passed. And if it chased me, well...

I bolt at the thought, leaping down the hall in great strides. As I pass the guestroom, I can feel an icy gust of air on my cheek. I reach my own bedroom, and jump under the sheets, hiding and listening for it to follow me. Seconds pass. I do not breathe, I do not shift in my covers, but I listen intently to the wind blowing quietly through my empty hall. I am alone, alone in my dark house.

Relief washes over me as I pull up my blanket to my chin. I wiggle into a more comfortable position in my bed, and close my eyes, at last able to sleep peacefully.

... But, when I left my room, hadn't I left my light on?

A cold breeze gently closes my bedroom door.

Something shifts slightly under the blankets next to me.

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